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Renting a Home

 

Smoke alarms in rental properties

 

 

The Residential Tenancy Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2012 (the Act) requires smoke alarms to be installed in all residential rental properties in Tasmania from 1 May 2013.  The Residential Tenancy (Smoke Alarm) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) set out requirements regarding the:

 

 

 

Complying with the Australian Standard

 

  • Smoke alarms must comply with Australian Standard (AS3786-1993 Smoke Alarms)
  • A range of smoke alarms that comply with the Standard are available at most electrical appliance outlets and hardware stores
  • Once installed the alarm will continue to comply with the Standard (even if the Standard changes) until the alarm:
    • no longer functions; or
    • reaches its expiry date
  • When an alarm is replaced, it must meet the requirements of the current Standard at the time of replacement
  • This applies to alarms installed both before and after commencement of the legislation

 

More information is available from Standards Australia

 

Do the alarms have to be battery or mains powered?

 

  • From 1 May 2013 until 30 April 2016 smoke alarms can be:
    • battery powered (by either a 9 volt removable or a 10 year non-removable battery); or
    • mains powered (provided it complies with AS3786-1993).
  • From 1 May 2016 smoke alarms will be required to be either:
    • mains powered; or
    • battery powered by a 10 year non-removable battery.

 

Where to install smoke alarms in buildings

 

Alarms must be installed on or near the ceiling.  Where it is not practicable, the regulations permit a smoke alarm to be installed in a place where it will, if activated, alert people in the property to the presence of smoke.

 

The different types of buildings have the different installation requirements:

 

Class 1a building (houses, town houses, villa units)

  • If any storey of a Class 1a building contains a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed

    in every corridor or hallway that is associated with a bedroom; and

  • If there is no corridor or hallway, a smoke alarm needs to be installed between that part of the building containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building; and

  • In any other storey of the building that does not contain a bedroom.

 

Class 1b building (small guesthouses, boarding houses accommodating up to 12 persons)

  • If any storey of a Class 1b building contains a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • in each bedroom in that storey; and
    • in every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom; and
  • If there is no corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • between that part of the building containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building; and
  • In any other storey of the building that does not contain a bedroom.

 

Class 2 building (apartments and blocks of flats)

  • If any storey of a Class 2 building contains a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • in the building, and every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom in that storey; and
  • If there is no corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, a smoke alarms must be installed:
    • between that part of the building containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building; and
  • In exit paths in any other storey of the building that does not contain a bedroom.

 

Class 3 building (larger boarding houses)

  • If any storey of a Class 3 building contains a bedroom, a smoke alarm needs to be installed:
    • in the building, and every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom in that storey; and
  • If there is no corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • between that part of the building containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building; and
  • In exit paths in any other storey of the building that does not contain a bedroom.

 

Class 4 premises (caretaker flats and residences above shops)

  • If any storey of a Class 4 building contains a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • in the building, and in every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom in that storey; and
  • If there is no corridor or hallway, associated with a bedroom, a smoke alarm must be installed:
    • between the part of the building containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building; and 
  • In exit paths in any other storey of the building that does not contain a bedroom.

 

 More information about the classes of buildings is available in the Building Code of Australia

 

What if the building is a strata title?

 

If a rental property is subject to the control of a body corporate under the Strata Titles Act 1998, a property owner is not required to get permission from the body corporate in order to install a smoke alarm in accordance with the Act.

 

 

Removing or interfering with a smoke alarm

 

It is an offence under the Act to remove or interfere with the operation of a smoke alarm in a tenanted property except where alarms are removed to be repaired or replaced.  The Act imposes penalties for not complying with these provisions.

 

What happens if a property or tenant doesn't comply with the Act?

 

The Residential Tenancy Commissioner is authorised to make an order requiring a property owner or tenant to comply with a provision of the Act.